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L.A. High School Kids Stage Walkout Over Kavanaugh Confirmation to Supreme Court

6:51 PM PDT on October 12, 2018

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he job is not over. That was the sentiment for hundreds of high school students who marched around downtown Los Angeles Friday to raise awareness of sexual misconduct and violence in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Kavanaugh faces multiple sexual misconduct allegations before the U.S. Senate sent him to the highest court in the land.

Students from Larchmont Charter School at LaFayette Park near MacArthur Park and several other high schools walked out of school and gathered on the steps of City Hall for the #Oct12Walkout.

Students marched through downtown Los Angeles to to protest accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. All photos by Nathan Solis.
Students marched through downtown Los Angeles to to protest accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. All photos by Nathan Solis.

I feel now our voices are stronger than they’ve ever been.

Just because the newly minted Supreme Court justice is out of the news cycle does not mean the students will let the topic of sexual misconduct awareness go away. Hundreds of students felt that they still need to speak up.

“I feel now our voices are stronger than they’ve ever been,” said organizer Jaimie Myong, 16, from Larchmont Charter School at La Fayette Park. She told L.A. Taco that with other walkouts, students seemed to drop the issue, but “now is going to be different.” (Elsewhere in L.A. County, students "walked out" for a decidedly other reason: protesting the Purple Line through Beverly Hills.)

Kavanaugh was the catalyst for many of the students who felt that hearing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford speak about the alleged sexual assault she experienced when she was in high school.

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I’m here because my best friend was sexually assaulted.

“This is what democracy looks like!” shouted the students, many too young to vote, but already aware of the 2020 elections. Still, the issue of Kavanaugh and sexual assault went beyond politics, as something personal.

For too long, assault victims have quietly shared their stories with friends, but sometimes they felt like they were alone. Denice Yoon, 16, wants to do away with the stigma of reporting sexual assault, something she said should not be a taboo subject.

“Yes, it’s a sensitive issue, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it. We have to make a point to have the discussion. I’m here because my best friend was sexually assaulted,” Yoon said.

RELATED: East L.A. High School Walkouts 40th Anniversary ~ Lincoln Heights

[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]exual assault has become normalized through the media and Hollywood, said Hinata Soares, 16. She point out that the actions of Bill Cosby, who was found guilty of sexual assault, and Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by multiple women of abuse and rape, as having created a conversation about the attackers and not enough about the consequences they should face.

“Society is trying to come to terms with rape culture and that’s why the #MeToo movement started. There are so many who want to turn the tables on the victims and not hold the responsible people accountable,” Soares said.

It’s OK to talk about when you’ve been raped.

Mason Greenberg, 17, wore pink shoes and stood tall among the crowd of marchers on the steps of City Hall at the #Oct12Walkout event. He spoke to the crowd about being a sexual harassment survivor and what it feels like to live in a world where you’re not taken seriously.

“For me, this walkout is all about making it so anyone who’s too afraid to tell their story can go ahead and say it to the crowd,” Greenberg said.

“We will support them through these hard times, and that it’s OK to talk about when you’ve been assaulted. It’s OK to talk about when you’ve been raped. It’s OK to talk about when someone attempted to sexually harass you. And that we here believe survivors.”

Kamile Charles, 15, had multiple numbers scribbled on her hands and arms. The 800-656-(HOPE)4673 number is for the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline from Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). Also, were the words “Don’t Get Raped”, but with two X-marks over the “Get” and “d” so the message read “Don’t Rape.”

RAINN’s hotline is operated 24 hours a day. Other resources, including thousands of local crisis and protection centers, can be found at online.rainn.org.

RELATED: ‘They Can’t Be Trusted’: L.A. Teachers Reject Latest District Raise Offer, Enter Mediation

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